Today, the Justice Department filed suit against itself and fifteen other Federal departments for anti-trust violations. Named defendants include:
The U.S. Department of Education -- for stifling innovation with the bureaucracy of its No Child Left Behind law.
The U.S. Energy Department -- for crippling competition by subsidizing boondoggles from Synfuels to Solyndra.
The U.S. Agriculture Department -- for raising food costs by subsidizing large agribusiness...
Okay, I made that up. Also, it's possible that an ATT-T-Mobile merger would hurt consumers. But I doubt it. As historian Robert Higgs says, the government's anti-trust regulation "is a gigantic fraud on the public, propelled by firms seeking protection from competition, by bureaucrat and lawyers building empires, and by politicians seeking (undeserved) public credit and political payoffs. The public suffers at every step."
Yes. The public suffered from the 9 years of anti-trust litigation against IBM (my lawyer friend and his Cravath Swain colleagues made out well, however). The government didn't win, but surprise -- somehow today, IBM does not control the computer business.
The public suffered from the anti-trust suit against Microsoft.
As Wayne Crews, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Technology and Innovation, puts it:
One of the worst effects of antitrust regulation is that it deprives consumers of thecompetitive response to so-called "monopolistic" behavior." Anti-trust litigation has become "a kind of corporate welfare for competitors. They can sit still, and gain nonetheless....
Google, like all firms, answers to the media, policymakers, rivals, business partners, infrastructure firms, emerging search technologies, the global marketplace, shareholders, Wall Street and investors. These are the appropriate forms of "regulation" to deal with supposed "search bias" or other alleged harmful behavior. The migration from MySpace to Facebook is one example of how quickly things can change....
Right. Government should shut up and do less.